Judge frees ADHD thief

By Trevor Quinn, trevor.quinn@age.co.nz

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A 21-year-old man suffering from ADHD has been released from prison after being beaten up and having his medication stolen, a court has heard.

Stephen Miljkovich, from Carterton, who suffers from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), appeared in Masterton District Court on Thursday.

Judge Thomas Broadmore said it was likely he would suffer further ill treatment in prison were he not released.

Miljkovich had been remanded in custody at Rimutaka Prison for the past six weeks awaiting sentencing after he accumulated shoplifting and theft charges, breached supervision and community work sentences and failed to report for court-directed counselling sessions.

Lawyer Ian Hard told Judge Broadmore that his client had received a number of violent beatings since he was incarcerated, and had his medication stolen by other inmates.

"I'm not at all surprised he has had a tough time in prison," Judge Broadmore said. "In my experience defendants on the autistic spectrum suffer greatly in prison and it came as no surprise to me he has suffered a number of beatings."

Mr Hard said his client had been offered a job in a rural area and the position may give him an ideal opportunity to get away from some of his poor associates.

Judge Broadmore acknowledged that prison was a harrowing experience for the defendant but said there was no easy solution.

Probation officer Alexia Darby said given Miljkovich's poor record of complying with community work and supervision sentences it was a challenge finding a suitable sentence.

Judge Broadmore admitted that if Miljkovich did not suffer from ADHD he would be inclined to sentence him to a further six weeks imprisonment.

"Were he to go back to prison it is more than likely he will suffer further ill-treatment," he said. "For that reason I believe every effort should be made to keep him out of prison."

Judge Broadmore said that while the defendant's behaviour and compliance with the police and authorities had been poor he hoped Miljkovich's experience in prison had changed his attitude.

He bailed him to his mother's address and directed a report be prepared on his suitability for a sentence of community detention.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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